The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: A Modern Tribute to the Jazz Era

The Great Gatsby [2013] (now in theaters) has been a highly anticipated and publicized movie. The reviews are in and they appear to be mixed, but the reviews for the soundtrack seem to be across the board awesome. I heard rumors that Jay-z had a large part in creating the soundtrack and I was intrigued. I had to listen for myself.

Director Baz Luhrmann gave Jay-Z the reigns when it came to this soundtrack and Luhrmann gave the job to the right person. The opening track is from the rapper, you can call that putting your best foot forward or a major ego move. The track “100$ Bill” is a mix of what sounds like quotes from the movie (but I could be totally wrong, since I haven’t seen the movie), jazz and hip hop. It’s a seriously interesting sound (and I mean that in the best way possible). Who else do you know can take a movie set in the ‘20s and use hip hop as the soundtrack? I love Jay-Z and in my mind, he can do no wrong…

 …But I am apparently wrong. Jay-Z had a major screw up with featuring on the album. His song “Bang Bang” is a huge fail. It’s just so wrong on so many levels. For starters, the ragtime thing he’s trying to work into this dubstep beat is just terrible and offensive to the ears. Secondly, he gives a slight nod to Nancy Sinatra’s song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”. No sir, do not drag a classic down with your sinking ship! Have I made my point clear with this? OK! Moving on.

Mrs. Jay-Z is also on the album performing a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” with OutKast’s Andre 3000. Sounds like a hot mess, right? You’re totally wrong. It’s a smoky, sultry, slow and sexy take on the late singer’s song. I am not usually a huge Beyonce fan, but she seduced me with her voice in this song. It is irresistible and I cannot get enough of this song. Dare I say, this is one of the best songs on the album.

Beyonce wasn’t the only one performing a cover for the soundtrack. Someone actually covered one of Beyonce’s songs., take note, Emeli Sande modernizes ragtime the RIGHT way. Performing with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, “Crazy in Love” goes from a power pop/r&b song to a jazzy ragtime number and still sounds fantastic. I love a good revamp and the fact that took a modern song, reworked it to be appropriate for the time period (the movie is based in the jazz era) and it still sounds awesome? That’s a win.

The album also features Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Jack Black and more. I love the eclectic collection of artists. Jay-Z could have just made it all about himself and his wife but instead, he decided to mix genres and create gold. Of course, he had a couple misses but all in all, this album is solid and worth a listen.



Written by: Katie Sperduti


One thought on “The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: A Modern Tribute to the Jazz Era

  1. For a review of The Great Gatsby that’s a bit contrarian, you might want to look at

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